Build the Plane While it’s in the Air
If you don’t have something worth talking about, talking and listening are a waste of time. Communication skills are irrelevant apart from meaningful outcomes.
Define the future first, then determine and develop the skills that take you there. Leadership skills are best learned when needed. Outcomes, deliverables, and noble goals infuse leadership skills and techniques with meaning.
Build the plane while it’s in the air. Learn and develop as you go.
Exception – attitudes and character first:
Develop leadership attitudes and character before teaching skills and techniques. Attitudes are hard – skills are easy. Techniques are quick – character takes time.
- Self-development. Develop yourself before developing others.
- Optimism takes you further than pessimism.
- Leading is serving.
- Mistakes aren’t final.
- Give to others what you expect from them. Giving respect earns respect.
- It’s always about others.
- Face fear with courage.
- Face toward the future.
- Forgive offenses while maintaining responsibility for outcomes.
- Act more than react.
- Values matter most.
- Seek solutions more than giving them.
- Tenderness compliments toughness.
Bonus: Believe you can learn, adapt, and grow.
Why wait on skills:
Relevance infuses skill development with purpose, meaning, and urgency. The leadership skills you need are the ones that take you where you want to go. For example, train leaders how to run meetings when they start running meetings.
What three leadership attitudes are essential to effective leadership?
How are attitudes developed?
Pragmatism – Leadership isn’t rocket science, it is about being practical, creating practices that enable people to assume responsibility, take ownership and work towards, shared goals collectively.
Stick-ability – You have got to be able to see it through to a desired shared conclusion and not create the grass hopper syndrome jumping from one plan of action to another, people need a consistent, reliable voice to listen to, to show direction. You have got to face the big questions, situations and remain consistent in your approach while absorbing new information and implementing strategies with minimum disruption.
Manoeuverability – Like a river you have got to be able to go with the flow, overcoming hurdles and keeping as many as possible in the boat with you. You can’t please all of the people all of the time.
Staying aligned to the practicalities of the job that needs to be accomplished while sticking to the shared principles on how this can be achieved and moving with the times, new knowledge, foresight in the most fluid way possible will enable Leadership to flourish in the most unobtrusive way possible……..
Thanks for a great comment. “Creating practices that enable people to assume responsibility.” Beautiful.
I read the voice of experience in your insights.
What a great analogy. Who would even think of building an airplane while flying?
But it is exactly what successful people do. Perfection paralyzes progress. Move forward, adjust, try again, adapt.
Great leaders are like those GPS voices in our cars. When you make a wrong turn, they just patiently watch what you are doing and re-route… or smile in amazement when they realize your idea was a better one. Can a GPS system smile?
Many times individuals are more clever than the GPS. Build the plane as you fly. Great Dan !
Great seeing you again.
I hadn’t thought of the GPS illustration. Ours says “recalculating” in a rather mundane tone. So much of life and leadership is recalculating.
Thanks for the good word.
We have just been part of a training re-vamp, and we intentionally focused first on attitude – then knowledge and skills. This is very confirming, and I believe – right on!
Bonus #2: Believe <> can learn, adapt, and grow.
It’s great to hear your training started with attitude first. I think more discussion and attention in this area would be very useful to organizations and leaders.
You have my best,
Love this Dan. The right character and attitude make the rest possible.
Great list of attitudes, Dan. I have been developing attitude and experiencing roadblock after roadblock, yet my faith is growing stronger daily and I know that a breakthrough is coming.
Thanks for the practical insight this morning. Your post immediately made me think of a video clip I have used in several leadership settings. The principles you speak of ring true… and making adjustments is like building a plane midflight. I found the commercial on youtube… was for EDS several years ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7XW-mewUm8
David great little video ….. thanks for sharing, I re-posted on LinkedIn …..
This posting reminds me of a quote by Ray Bradbury: “Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.”
Thanks, as always, for sharing Dan!